Speaker: Dr Petra Vertes (University of Cambridge)
Summary: The last 20 years have witnessed extraordinarily rapid progress in neuroscience, including breakthrough technologies such as optogenetics and the collection of unprecedented amounts of neuroimaging, genetic and other data. However, the translation of this progress into improved understanding and treatment of mental health symptoms has been comparatively slow. One central challenge has been to reconcile different scales of investigation, from genes and molecules to cells, circuits, tissue, whole-brain and ultimately behaviour. In this talk I will describe several strands of work using mathematical, statistical, and bioinformatic methods to bridge these gaps. First, I will describe my work on linking neuroimaging data to the Allen Brain Atlas (a brain-wide, whole-genome map of gene expression) and how we are can apply these tools in the nascent field of imaging transcriptomics to further our understanding of schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Next, I will discuss parallel efforts for using network science and control theory for linking microscopic function (ie the role of individual cells) to large-scale behaviour in C elegans.